Lathes & Tools
These English watchmaker's tools were used to form, polish, and burnish pivots, arbors, and pinion faces. The Dominys' used this to perform work that was too small for their clockmaker's hand lathe or turning bench. Power for this lathe was supplied either by pushing on the grooved ferrules with a finger or by using this horn bow. A mahogany case provides convenient storage for the lathe, a screw plate, and a set of taps. This equipment would have been quite easy for the Dominys to purchase in New York City. Museum purchase from Nathaniel M. Dominy, 1957.0084.012a-x.
(Right) Watchmaker's lathe, England, Nathaniel Dominy IV (purchaser, user), 1770-1812. Brass; Wood; Iron. 2.6" (H), 4.9" (L). Museum purchase with funds provided by Henry Belin du Pont, 1957.0026.429
(Left) Watchmaker's lathe, England, Nathaniel Dominy IV (purchaser, user), 1880-1812. Brass; Iron. 3.4" (L). Museum purchase, 1963.0156.046
The Dominy craftsmen carried out metal turning, grinding, truing, and polishing tasks using the foot-treadle lathe. Steel arbors and spindles were shaped to size, ground, and then polished on it. Clock-wheel rims were ground into true circles before cutting the teeth.
(Left) Wheel lathe, Nathaniel Dominy IV (purchaser or maker), 1788-1812. White oak; Red oak; Satinwood, Ceylon; Dogwood; Applewood; Leather; Iron; Steel; Jute. 14.25" (H), 24.25" (L), 23.75" (wheel diameter). Museum purchase with funds provided by Henry Belin du Pont, 1957.0026.373 A-G
Clock- and watchmakers used lathe spindles to polish brass and steel parts in order to obtain smooth-working, friction-free moving components.
Lathe spindle, Nathaniel Dominy IV (maker), ca.1800. Iron; Maple, soft; Stone. 6.1" (L). Museum purchase with funds provided by Henry Belin du Pont, 1957.0026.375
Because lathes were of little use without cutting tools, the Dominys employed Gravers and turning tools of various kinds to cut steel arbors, shape and reduce brass parts, or to produce either a bead on a brass rod or two closely spaced incised lines.
Lathe tool (possibly burniser), probably England, Nathaniel Dominy IV (purchaser, stocker), 1770-1800. Steel; Beech. 8" (L). Museum purchase with funds provided by Henry Belin du Pont, 1957.0026.125